I LOVED Thanksgiving in the States because I got to eat lots of turkey and I had my buddy Marley come to stay with us. Mom and dad and Rhonda sat around after dinner and they talked and talked and all was happy and everyone was at home. Thanksgiving in Cuenca left a lot to be desired, at least for me. For mom and dad this Thanksgiving was different but very enjoyable. They went out to Villa San Carlos and had a feast. Dad had lots of turkey, but he didn't bring me any. Mom had the fixings and the veggie lasagna, and I wouldn't be interested in that so I'm not angry that she didn't bring left overs; with dad, that's another story. They bragged and bragged about the food and the company and I had to stay home by myself so I guess I could be angry with both of them.
Mom explained to me that we have a lot to be thankful for and I know that's true. We take so much for granted every day. Thanksgiving Day here in Cuenca reminded us of that. For one, we didn't have any water all day and mom and dad had to take their baths with buckets of water that mom keeps just in case. Mom is too impatient to heat the water up in the stove so she used mostly cold water to bathe and she screamed as she poured it on her... it was very funny. Dad is the sensible one, so he waited patiently and methodically to bathe without a fuss. The only thing I cared about was that they had enough water for me to drink and they did so all was well. Not having water during Thanksgiving made mom be thankful for every day we do have it, which it's most days.
These last few days have been of thanks giving. We have a wonderful lady who comes to clean twice a week. Her name is Norma; I really like her and so do my mom and dad. She has quickly become part of our family. She has a cute boy, Mateo, who comes with her sometimes. He talks incessantly and he is very sweet.
A week ago Sunday after Norma was finished cleaning the house we took them to their home and we learned a lot about their lives. Norma has a very supportive husband and she goes to seamstress school every day. She loves to sew. They live about 45 minutes away by car in the mountains close to Cuenca. Norma has to be out of her house by 6 AM every morning so she can get to class on time. She takes the bus every day and because the buses come full she waits and waits and it takes her 3 hours to get to town. The roads to her house are dangerous and so are the buses. Going back home is the same ordeal. However, we never see Norma upset or anxious; she is always smiling, always happy. Mom says she reminds her of my sunny disposition how I not only accept things as they come but embrace life with joy.
Norma loves to study and is learning how to start a Cuy business. Today she had to leave early because they were teaching her how to kill the Cuyes (Guinea Pigs). This made mom sad but the Cuy is a staple in the Ecuadorian diet so I told mom to get over it. I would definitely eat a Cuy if given the chance. They are probably delicious. Maybe my dad will take me one day without telling mom.
We have found that Thanksgiving is not just a day for us here in Ecuador. It's a way of life. We are thankful for the beauty that surrounds us, for how blessed we are and for the opportunities we have to realize how much we have. We are thankful for the warm and nice people we have met, Gringos as well as Ecuadorians. We are grateful for the lessons we learn every day.
Becker Architects (Chicago)
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